I have been fortunate to be able to assist on the ground with disaster relief in communities across Alberta including the Slave Lake fire in 2011 and the Calgary floods in 2013, and I've learned that cash donations, even small ones, are by far the most effective way to help those recovering from a disaster.
Without money, it would be nearly impossible for food banks to provide clients with a healthy dinner plate. That's because essentials like pasta, soup and beans pour in, while equally important items like fresh produce, meat and dairy items are in shorter supply. Financial donations create flexibility.
Unfortunately, it remains part of Canada's culture of philanthropy to think charities should spend all their money directly on programs and that "administrative" spending is wrong and should be discouraged. There's a double standard, with different expectations of businesses than of charities when it comes to investing internally.
The mission of #JustGive, to inspire the idea that giving can be simple, spontaneous and contagious, is something that I am really passionate about. Here are my top five fun, easy and totally free ideas that we can all incorporate into our daily lives that will have a "pay it forward" effect on our community.
It's expensive to raise a family. Canadian governments recognize this, and have historically tried to ease the expense at least a little by offering parents with dependent children tax credits and deductions that others don't get. The individual tax credits may not seem significant, but they can add up to a few more dollars in your pocket. And when you are raising kids, every little bit helps.
From afar, we witnessed the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. To date, Canada's Jewish community has commendably raised close to $200,000 for relief in the Philippines. We will never forget the role the Philippines played in helping to push for the Jewish people's salvation and in ensuring that our futures are secure thanks to the creation of the Jewish state.
Charities are a big business and this business is becoming more competitive and costly each year. There are over 85,000 organizations on the Canada Revenue Agency's Charities Directorate. They employ a lot of people to chase more than $8.3 billion dollars in donations as reported by Statistics Canada. When you make a donation with your hard earned money, you want it to go to the cause. It is understood that some of the donation will be used for administrative costs and fundraising but one hopes that a large percentage will reach the people you intend to help. Unfortunately, that is not always the case.